Peter Noble Collection

Scope and Content

The collection of scrapbooks predominantly contain cuttings from London and regional newspapers and periodicals of his writings and theatrical and record reviews. Also covered are reviews for two major published books; Ivor Novello: Man of the Theatre, 1951 and British Theatre, 1945 and information and reviews for two stage-plays he performed in during 1944 at London's Chanticleer Theatre.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1917 in Clerkenwell, Peter Noble grew up at the Farningham Home for Boys after the death of his father during WWI. As a young man he joined the Unity Theatre Company, and his first theatrical roles were in Babes in the Wood and Waiting for Lefty. On the outbreak of WW2, Noble volunteered as a stretcher bearer, but was invalided out and returned to the stage appearing in Lady Julie. A number of minor film roles followed, including Escape Dangerous, where he met the actress Marianne Stone who would later become his second wife of 50 years, and with which he had two children (one of which, Kara Noble, is now a radio presenter).

During the 1940s and 1950s he began his real career as a theatrical and film writer and critic, writing for many national newspapers and periodicals as well as publishing a variety of film and theatre books himself, broadcasting on BBC radio (he was a menmber of the BBC drama repertory), and appearing as a regular panelist on the television game show Find the Link. He wrote the first serious book on black cinema, The Negro in Films (1947) and was the Director of the London Negro Repertory Theatre. At one point his writing became so prolific that he adopted the pseudonym Raymond Leader to avoid his own name appearing too frequently in the press. His final job was editing the glossy weekly Screen International, for which he wrote his final column on 11 September, 1992.

Noble died in London on 17 August 1997.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Peter Noble's daughter.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:


No accruals expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Peter Noble may be found in several collections, including the library collection and the biographical, productions, and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Personal Names